Product safety


Products sold in Ireland must be safe to use, according to Irish and EU product safety laws. Unsafe products can be banned from sale in the Irish market, under the European Communities (General Product Safety) Regulations 2004.

This page explains ways you can protect yourself from buying unsafe products, what to do if a product you purchased is unsafe, and the specific safety rules that apply to certain products.

How to stay safe when buying a new product

Buy from trustworthy sellers

Think carefully about who and where you are buying from. Try to only buy from trustworthy sellers. Rogue traders may ignore health and safety rules, and may also sell fake or counterfeit products.

If you buy from a seller based outside the EU the product might not meet our safety standards. Be very cautious about using the product if it does not have clear instructions or safety markings.

If you buy something second hand, make sure you either get the instructions with the product, or that the instructions are available online. Instruction manuals contain important safety information.

Check for safety markings

Certain types of products sold in the EU must have a CE mark. The CE mark on a product is a manufacturer’s assurance that the product meets all required safety standards.

The CE marking should be permanently shown on the product. If it is not possible to include the CE mark on the product, then it should be shown in the instruction manual or on the packaging. It must be easy to read.

Counterfeit products may sometimes copy the CE mark or use the China Export mark which is very similar. However, the China Export mark means the product was manufactured in China, it is not a safety declaration.

Products that need the CE mark

Toys, domestic electrical and gas appliances, and personal protective equipment like sunglasses and bicycle helmets must have a CE mark. You should only buy these types of products if they have it.

Some products do not need a CE mark. But these products do still need to meet the standards of the European Communities (General Product Safety) Regulations 2004.

The European Commission has more information about the CE marking.

Read more below about the rules for specific products.

Read all warnings

Be aware of age and safety recommendations, especially in the case of toys.

Producers must warn you of any dangers involved in using their product if that product, by nature, involves risk. For example, the packaging for candles should have a warning to say ‘never leave a naked flame unattended’. This is known as an inherent risk warning.

Consider all warnings before buying or using a product.

Check recall lists

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the national enforcement body (NEB) responsible for making sure certain products sold in Ireland meet specific national and EU safety standards.

The CCPC has a database of product recalls that you can check.

Or you can check Safety Gate the EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products.

What to do after buying a new product

Read the instructions

The instructions that come with products contain important safety information and advice about how to use the product. You should read them carefully before using the product.

Register the product

You can register many household products with the manufacturer. This is usually done to activate a guarantee or warrantee that may be available, but it is also important for safety reasons.

When you have registered your product the manufacturer can alert you directly if any safety issues are discovered and arrange a repair or recall without delay.

What happens if a product is unsafe?

What to do if you think a product is unsafe

If you think that a product is unsafe, harmful, or looks like it has a fake CE mark you should:

  • Report the safety problem to the manufacturer or retailer, it may turn out to be a once-off fault
  • Contact the CCPC about your concerns
  • Check the CCPC product recall database and follow the instructions given (if there is a recall notice)

What happens if the producer discovers that the product is unsafe?

If a producer discovers that a product they have sold is unsafe they must take action to fix the issue. What action is taken will depend on the safety issue in question, but it could include:

  • Issuing new instructions
  • Modifying the product, or
  • Recalling the product.

The producer must alert all consumers that they know are affected by the issue. If you receive a safety email or letter from the producer of a product you own, you should read it carefully and take any action it recommends.

What happens when a product is being recalled?

If a producer discovers that a product has safety issues that cannot be fixed, they must

  • Inform the National Enforcement Body (in Ireland this is the CCPC)
  • Remove the product from sale
  • Withdraw it from the market by doing a recall

A product recall is when the producer of a product asks consumers to return the unsafe product to be repaired, replaced, or refunded.

If possible, the company will contact you directly to tell you about the dangerous product. Alternatively, it will put adverts in the national media and display in-store notices to raise awareness about the recall.

The CCPC will add the product to their database of product recalls, and notify the European Commission.

EU Safety Gate (RAPEX)

The European Commission guides manufacturers on how to organise a product recall and gives details of all products recalled throughout the EU on the Safety Gate (also known as RAPEX) website.

The rapid alert system covers all products likely to be used by consumers, except for food and medicines.

Dangerous food and food supplements can be recalled by national food authorities. Details of the alert notifications and product recalls affecting the Irish market are provided by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Dangerous medicines, as well as medical devices and cosmetics, are usually recalled through the Health Products Regulatory Authority and the Department of Health.

What if an unsafe product causes injury or damage?

If you followed the instructions and used a product as directed but it caused injury to you or damage to your property, you might be entitled to compensation, depending on the circumstances.

Rules for specific products

Some products with extra risks have specific minimum safety requirements.

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any device or appliance designed to protect against health and safety hazards. Personal protective equipment covers items like sunglasses, bicycle helmets and reflective jackets, as well as chemical hazard suits and safety harnesses.

The safety requirements for PPE are set out in S.I. 136/2018. The CCPC is responsible for checking that personal protective equipment used for leisure or in the home complies with the law. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) monitors all personal protective equipment used in business and industry and has a useful FAQ on PPE.

The European Commission has information on personal protective equipment.

PPE - face masks and face coverings

A medical face mask is PPE and must meet safety requirements set out by law covering PPE – see above.

A face covering (or barrier mask) is not a medical mask. Face coverings or barrier masks are not PPE and do not have to meet the same safety requirements.

Face coverings should be produced in line with National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) specifications.

The CCPC has published Guidelines for Face Masks Product Safety.

Toys and products made for children

General guidelines for buying safe products for children

A toy is a product intended for children aged under 14 to play with. Equipment children use (such as sports equipment) that are not toys do not have these specific rules.

Toys that meet national and EU safety rules should:

  • Be strong and resilient (should not break easily)
  • Be made of materials that do not burn easily
  • Be made of non-toxic materials
  • Carry the CE mark

A child’s product that contains detachable or small parts should be marked as unsuitable for children under 36 months. Bikes and go-karts should have adequate brakes and guards for chains and other moving parts. Bikes used on public roads should have certain lighting fitted as standard.

What safety standards should electric toys meet?

Electrical toys must not have a voltage above 24 volts and all parts should be insulated to prevent risk of contact with live wires. These toys must come with clear and detailed safety instructions. Electrical items aimed at children, such as lamps, are not considered toys and should carry a label stating this.

The CCPC has more information on buying toys and toy safety.

The law covering toy safety

Only toys that meet minimum safety requirements can be sold in Ireland and the EU. The rules on toy safety are set out in the EU Directive on toy safety 2009/48/EC. The Directive strengthened the laws on safety requirements and required toys to carry the CE marking. SI 14/2011 (as amended by SI 15/2022 (pdf)) gives effect to the Directive in Ireland.

Electrical products

All electrical products, within certain voltage limits, sold in Ireland and the EU, must meet health and safety standards. The rules are set out in the Low Voltage Directive and S.I. No. 343/2016 (as amended by SI 14/2022 (pdf)) gives effect to the Directive in Ireland.

The rules apply to a wide range of electrical products including:

  • Household appliances
  • Cables
  • Fuses
  • Mobile phone chargers
  • Power supply units
  • LED lamps

Products with a voltage between 50 and 1000 volts for alternating current and 70 and 1500 volts for direct current must be compliant and carry a CE mark.

You should always pay attention to any warnings about potential hazards that are on products (for example, warnings on hairdryers such as ‘not for use in bathrooms’).

As plugs, sockets and leads in Ireland are different to the rest of Europe the NSAI has developed electricity standards to make sure that safety standards are met. Any electrical item that you buy in Ireland should come with the standard plug. The standard plug is a 3-pin IS411 (BS 1363 type). Never attempt to place a 2-pin plug into a 3-pin socket. The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has more advice on staying safe.

Gas appliances and Installation

Gas burning appliances must follow strict standards to make sure they are safe for use. These requirements are set out in SI 126/2018 (as amended by SI 13/2022).

Gas burning appliances include household heating boilers, gas cookers, gas lighting and gas-fired heaters. Manufacturers must follow rules about warning notices on appliances, the type of gas used, and pressure levels.

All gas appliances in use in the EU must also carry a CE mark (does not apply for appliances made before 1997).

Gas installation

You must have your gas appliance fitted by a registered gas installer. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) regulates gas safety in Ireland and has appointed the Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII) as the gas safety supervisory body.

Companies working on gas installations, fitting or servicing gas appliances must be registered with RGII and meet safety requirements.


Anyone manufacturing, selling or repairing furniture in Ireland must use materials that meet fire safety standards. Materials include foams, fillings, coverings and frames. This requirement is set out in S.I. 316 of 1995.

Furniture products must pass the ‘cigarette test’. This test proves that covers, foam and lining materials are not likely to go on fire by a lit match or a cigarette. All items of furniture that pass this test must carry a label to show it meets Irish fire safety laws.

Further information

You can read more about EU laws on product safety and enforcement on the European Commission’s website.

National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)

The NSAI is Ireland’s official organisation for setting standards. It develops standards for safety, quality, design, and performance of specific products for sale. If a product is covered by one of these standards, it must meet the basic requirements.

The NSAI also certifies products with the CE Marking. It also examines best international practice and represents Ireland in European and International standards and measurement bodies.

NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland)

1 Swift Square
Dublin 9
D09 A0E4

Tel: +353 (0)1 807 3800
Fax: +353 (0)1 807 3838

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)

The CCPC is the national enforcement body (NEB) responsible for making sure that a wide range of products sold in Ireland meet specific national and EU safety standards.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Bloom House
Railway Street
Dublin 1
D01 C576

Opening Hours: Lines open Monday-Friday, from 9am - 6pm
Tel: (01) 402 5555 and (01) 402 5500

Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU)

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) regulates gas safety in Ireland.

Commission for Regulation of Utilities

Customer Care Team

P.O. Box 11934
Dublin 24
D24 PXW0

Locall: 1800 404 404
Fax: (01) 4000 850

Health and Safety Authority

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) monitors all machinery, chemicals and personal protective equipment used in business and industry.

Health and Safety Authority

The Metropolitan Building
James Joyce Street
Dublin 1
D01 K0Y8

Opening Hours: Lines are open on Monday to Fridays 9am - 3pm
Tel: (01) 614 7000
Locall: 0818 289 389
Fax: (01) 614 7020

Health Products Regulatory Authority

The Health Products Regulatory Authority monitors the market safety of medical devices, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

Health Products Regulatory Authority

Kevin O'Malley House
Earlsfort Centre
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
D02 XP77

Opening Hours: Lines open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
Tel: +353 (0)1 676 4971

Commission for Communications Regulation

The Commission for Communications Regulation monitors the market safety of mobile phones and radio equipment, for example, any appliance or device that has Bluetooth or internet connectivity.

Commission for Communications Regulation

One Dockland Central
1 Guild Street
North Dock
Dublin 1
D01 E4XO

Tel: (01) 804 9668
Fax: (01) 804 9680

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland monitors the market safety of food and food supplements.

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

The Exchange
George's Dock
Dublin 1
D01 P2V6

Tel: +353 1 8171300
Fax: +353 1 8171301

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government monitors the market safety of construction products.

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Local Government Personnel

Custom House
Dublin 1
D01 W6X0

Tel: +353 (0)1 888 2000
Locall: 1890 20 20 21
Page edited: 12 March 2024